Survival Knife: A Must Have Tool For Self-Defence and Hunting

Survival Knives

Welcome to, where we focus on providing the most comprehensive information to help you prepare for any kind of danger, doomsday scenario, or simply a bushcraft adventure. In this in-depth guide, we focus on a tool no prepper should overlook: the survival knife. We will delve into various aspects, from choosing the right survival knife to understanding its myriad uses in survival scenarios. This guide is specifically designed to help you make an informed decision about investing in the best survival knife that aligns with your needs.

Why is a Survival Knife Essential?


A survival knife is the Swiss Army knife of the prepping world, serving a multitude of roles with a single blade. Its diverse range of functions includes tasks as varied as cutting rope, preparing food, or even making feather sticks for fire starting. In emergency scenarios, this single tool can be used for first aid purposes, like cutting bandages or even sutures. The versatile nature of a survival knife means that it can replace several other tools, making it a must-have item in any survival kit.


Durability is an essential factor for any tool designed for survival and emergency situations, and survival knives are crafted to meet this requirement. Made from high-quality materials like carbon or stainless steel, these knives are built to withstand extreme conditions including high-impact use. Their resilient construction means they won’t easily break or deteriorate, even when subjected to frequent use or harsh environments. When you’re in a survival situation, the last thing you want is for your primary tool to fail; hence, a durable knife becomes an invaluable companion.


The portability of a survival knife makes it an incredibly practical tool for any prepper. Unlike other survival tools that might be cumbersome or heavy, a survival knife is usually designed to be lightweight and easy to carry. Many come with sheaths that can be attached to a belt or backpack, ensuring that it is always within arm’s reach when you need it the most. The compact nature of the tool allows you to move quickly and efficiently, which can be crucial in survival situations.


The practical uses of a survival knife go far beyond cutting and slicing; it serves as a utility tool that can aid you in various tasks essential for survival. From digging small holes and prying objects to striking fire-starting ferro rods and chopping small pieces of wood, its utility is broad. Some survival knives even come with added features like a serrated edge for sawing or a hollow handle containing fishing hooks and other small survival aids. The myriad of practical applications a survival knife offers makes it an indispensable part of any survival or prepping kit.

Types of Survival Knives

Fixed Blade vs Folding Blade

Fixed blade knives are renowned for their durability and structural integrity, making them ideal for heavy-duty tasks such as chopping wood or even batoning. Because they are typically one solid piece of metal extending from tip to hilt, there are no mechanical parts that can fail under stress. On the other hand, folding knives are designed for ease of carry and quick access, easily fitting into a pocket or a smaller compartment of a backpack. While they may not be as rugged as fixed blade knives, their convenience and portability make them a viable option for lighter tasks and situations where discreetness is desired.

Tang Types

The type of tang a knife has can significantly impact its strength and durability. A full-tang knife, where the blade extends all the way through the handle, offers the highest stability and is best suited for demanding tasks like splitting wood. Partial-tang knives are not as robust, but they are often lighter and easier to carry, making them suitable for more delicate tasks. Rat-tail tangs, which narrow down significantly before extending through the handle, are the least sturdy but can be sufficient for light and medium-duty tasks, as long as you are aware of their limitations.

Blade Material

Stainless steel blades are highly resistant to rust and corrosion, making them ideal for wet or humid environments. However, they might not hold an edge as well as other materials. Carbon steel blades are favored for their ability to maintain sharpness over extended periods, but they are susceptible to rust if not adequately cared for. Hybrid materials attempt to offer the best of both worlds, combining aspects of both stainless and carbon steel to create a blade that is both durable and maintains an edge well. Understanding these differences in material properties can help you select a knife best suited for your specific needs in survival and bushcraft.

How to Choose the Right Survival Knife

Blade Length

The length of the blade is a critical factor in a survival knife’s effectiveness. A blade length between 4 to 6 inches is generally considered optimal because it provides a balanced combination of utility and ease of handling. A blade in this size range allows you to perform a variety of tasks, from intricate carving to more strenuous activities like chopping, without being too unwieldy to manage safely.

Handle Material

The material of the knife handle can have a significant impact on its usability and effectiveness. Wood handles offer a natural feel and good grip but may require more maintenance to keep them in good condition. Rubber and Micarta handles provide excellent grip and are durable, but the former may not offer as much insulation against heat or cold, while the latter is more expensive but highly durable and resistant to environmental factors.


The efficiency of a survival knife is largely determined by the sharpness of its blade. A dull knife not only makes tasks more laborious but can also be dangerous, requiring more force and increasing the risk of slips and accidents. It’s crucial to choose a knife with a blade that not only comes sharp but can easily be honed in the field to maintain its edge.


While it might be tempting to invest in a high-end survival knife, often a mid-range priced knife can offer nearly the same performance and reliability. Many mid-range knives are made with high-quality materials and thoughtful design, providing excellent value for the price. Therefore, it’s worth considering your budget and researching thoroughly to find a knife that fits your needs without breaking the bank.

Survival Knife Kit

Survival Knife Uses in Different Scenarios

In Disasters

In emergency disaster scenarios, the utility of a survival knife becomes extremely apparent. Whether it’s cutting ropes to pull people out of hazardous areas or breaking glass windows for a quick exit, a reliable knife is invaluable for performing a variety of urgent tasks. Its versatility can prove to be a life-saving asset when seconds count and traditional rescue tools are not readily available.

In Doomsday Scenarios

In situations where society’s safety nets have collapsed, such as in doomsday scenarios, a survival knife gains even more importance. From hunting and preparing food to serving as a tool for self-defence against predators, both animal and human, a robust and reliable knife is indispensable. It can also assist in other vital tasks like building fires, crafting hunting traps, and even signalling for help.

In Bushcraft

For enthusiasts of bushcraft, the art of wilderness survival, a survival knife is an essential part of their gear. Whether it’s constructing a makeshift shelter using branches and leaves or processing wood for a fire, a good knife will make the task more manageable and efficient. Its utility in these situations goes beyond mere convenience and crosses into the realm of necessity, as many bushcraft skills rely on the fine balance of utility and manageability that a good survival knife offers.

Info: In the UK when it comes to shopping for survival gearvarious models of survival knives are popular in different communities, be it among military personnel, outdoor enthusiasts, or survivalists. Brands like Gerber, Morakniv, and Cold Steel frequently come up as popular choices.

Survival Knife: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Poor Quality

One of the most common mistakes people make is opting for a cheap, low-quality survival knife, thinking it will serve its purpose. Unfortunately, such knives can quickly become more of a hindrance than a help, failing you when you need them the most—be it blade dullness, handle breakage, or rusting. In a survival scenario, a low-quality knife can not only waste your time but also put your safety at risk.

Incorrect Size

Another frequent error is choosing a knife that is either too large or too small for effective use. An overly large knife can be cumbersome and unwieldy, making it challenging to perform delicate tasks or carry comfortably for extended periods. Conversely, a knife that is too small may not be up to the task when it comes to heavy-duty chores like chopping wood or cutting through thick materials.

Ignoring Maintenance

Even the highest-quality survival knife can’t sustain its optimal performance without regular maintenance. Ignoring basic care procedures like sharpening the blade, oiling the handle, or cleaning off any corrosive substances can lead to quick deterioration. A neglected knife can eventually fail you, usually at the most inconvenient and critical moment, making maintenance a non-negotiable aspect of owning a survival knife.

FAQs about Knives Survival

What’s the difference between survival knives and regular knives?

Survival knives and regular knives differ primarily in their design purpose and functionality. Survival knives are engineered to be versatile, robust tools capable of performing a wide array of tasks in emergency or outdoor situations, from cutting and chopping to digging and prying. In contrast, regular knives are generally specialized for specific tasks like cooking or crafting and may not possess the durability or range of functions required in survival scenarios.

How do I maintain my survival knife?

Maintaining your survival knife involves a few key steps to ensure its longevity and effectiveness. First, regularly sharpen the blade using a whetstone or specialized knife sharpener to keep it in optimal condition for cutting. Second, clean the blade and handle after use, especially if you’ve used the knife in a wet or dirty environment, and consider applying a light coat of oil to protect against rust and corrosion.

Are branded survival knives better?

Branded knives often come with the assurance of quality, durability, and a warranty, as reputable companies have a reputation to maintain. They may also undergo more rigorous testing and quality control measures, ensuring that you get a product that is reliable and meets high standards. However, this doesn’t mean that non-branded or lesser-known brands can’t offer good-quality knives; in fact, there are many budget-friendly options that are durable, functional, and well-crafted. Ultimately, the best approach is to evaluate your specific needs, do thorough research, read reviews, and even test different options when possible, rather than solely relying on a brand name.

Hey there! I’m Mark from Preppers UK. With nearly a decade under my belt in the prepping world and a dash of martial arts expertise, I’ve created this space to share insights, tips, and tricks.